Larry Hagman – ‘Oils’ well for Solar Energy

He played ruthless oil baron J.R. Ewing on “Dallas,” but in his own life, Larry Hagman is as green as they come.

On Tuesday, the actor, 75, announced the launch of a campaign directing people how to claim telephone tax refunds and give that money to various environmental causes, including the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), which brings renewable solar energy to developing countries.

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“I thought the campaign was a good idea,” Hagman told The Associated Press before a press conference. “Hopefully it will help people find a way to help the planet. We’ve got problems.”

The Internal Revenue Service stopped collecting the excise tax on long-distance and wireless calls last August, authorizing a one-time refund of tax money collected from phone service from March 2003 to July 2006. The IRS reported in February that millions had not requested the refund.

Hagman joined the refundsforgood.org campaign because of his own involvement with SELF and a dedication to green causes going back 10 years, he said.

The Web site’s founders, Jon Gorham and Michael Swartz, run the Connecticut-based company Refunds for Good Inc., which supports sustainable development projects.

Also known for his starring role on the 1960s sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie,” Hagman underwent surgery in 1995 to replace his liver with a donor organ after being diagnosed with acute cirrhosis from years of drinking.

Among ongoing lifestyle changes, Hagman converted his farm in Ojai to solar power.

He also owns a Prius, and drives a small electric car near his other home in Santa Monica.

“It looks like a traveling bird cage,” he laughed.

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